Thursday 20 June 2024

Living in a Foreign Country

ὑμεῖς δ᾽ ἐς ἀλλόφυλον ἐλθοῦσαι χθόνα
γῆς τῆσδ᾽ ἐρασθήσεσθε· προυννέπω τάδε.

If you travel into some land of foreigners,
I warn you, you shall come to love their country.
Aeschylus, Eumenides 851-52. My translation.

Wednesday 19 June 2024

Eurystylus Coelestialium

Eurystylus coelestialium (眼斑厚盲蝽).

The ramie plants on Yuelu Mountain are always brimming with life. I have not seen many of this particular true bug, but there being so many insects about it is easy for a species to be overlooked.

Eurystylus coelestialium on Yuelu Mountain

Our Time

horae quidem cedunt et dies et menses et anni, nec praeteritum tempus umquam revertitur nec quid sequatur sciri potest. quod cuique temporis ad vivendum datur, eo debet esse contentus.

Hours, days, months and years pass by, the past never returns, and the future cannot be known: but we should be content with whatever time we are given to live within.
Cicero, On Old Age, 19.69. My translation.

Tuesday 18 June 2024

Ricania Taeniata

Ricania taeniata (黑带广翅蜡蝉).

In spite of the frequent rain, there have been plenty of insects out and active. On some reeds near the Xiang river there were many of these plant-hoppers. The are remarkable for the audible mating call they emit: I don't recall another plant-hopper one can hear!

Ricania taeniata by the Xiang River


 

Literary Delights

semper aut discere, aut docere, aut scribere dulce habui.

I always find learning, or teaching, or writing
to be delightful.
Bede, Ecclesiastical History of the English People (5.24). My translation.

Monday 17 June 2024

What Students Drink

From Ælfric’s Colloquy. My translation.

Teacher: & hwæt drincst þu?
Student: Ealu, gif ic hæbbe, oþþe wæter gif ic næbbe ealu.

Teacher: And what do you drink?
Student: Beer, if I have it or water when I don't have beer.

Japanese Knotweed Leaf Beetle

Japanese Knotweed Leaf Beetle (Gallerucida bifasciata, 二纹柱萤叶甲).

A ladybug-like beetle: they can be black and red or black and yellow with considerable variety in the patterns of their spots. Regardless of their colour, they all have large antennae.

Japanese Knotweed Leaf Beetle by Xiang River

Sunday 16 June 2024

Evergreen Wisteria

Evergreen Wisteria (Wisteriopsis reticulata, 网络夏藤).

A scrambling shrub, they started to bloom on Yuelu Mountain in the first week of June, though I saw some plants blooming a couple weeks earlier further East of here near Liuyang. Its burst of purple and yellow are always striking, whatever part of summer they first appear on the edges of the forests.

Evergreen Wisteria on Yuelu Mountain

Reed-like Men

Arundo etiam videtur exterius solida, sed intus est vacua: sicut sunt quidam homines, qui habent arundineas gratias, utpote corporis pulchritudinem, membrorum sanam fortitudinem, linguae facundiam, et hujus seculi sapientiam, et caetera hujusmodi, quibus raro merentur, sed saepius demerentur.

A reed, however seems outwardly solid but it is hollow on the inside: just like some men, who have reed-like graces: such as physical beauty, robust strength of limb, eloquence in speech, and the wisdom of this world, and other qualities such as these, which are rarely found, but easily lost.
Albertus Magnus, Sermones: de tempore, de eucharistia, de sanctis, ed. by Hippolytus a Cruce (Toulouse: Édouard Privat, 1883), p. 12 [In Dominica III Adventus. Sermo III.]. My translation.

Saturday 15 June 2024

Mussaenda Shikokiana

Mussaenda shikokiana (大叶白纸扇).

In the past I have only seen a few of these scrambling shrubs on Yuelu Mountain, but I believe this summer I have been seeing more: perhaps they have been taking advantage of some of the sparser tree cover, a consequence of a destructive winter?

Mussaenda shikokiana on Yuelu Mountain

Thoughts and Dreams

 אין מראין לו לאדם אלא מהרהורי ליבו
 
A person is only shown [in a dream] what is suggested by his thoughts.
Babylonian Talmud, Berakoth 55b My Translation.

Friday 14 June 2024

Ptecticus Aurifer

Ptecticus aurifer (金黄指突水虻).

Flies are not the most loved insect, but they can be some of the most fascinating. This soldier fly from Yuelu Mountain is a wasplike mimic and is very colorful: individuals come in a wide array of yellows, oranges, reds and blacks.

Ptecticus aurifer on Yuelu Mountain

Prawns

 Dinner was announced and the two friends joined the surge of guests going towards the buffet in the garden. It was a feast of prawns, by far the most expensive delicacy in Pakistan at the moment. Tandoori prawn. Prawn skewer kebabs. Grilled prawns. Prawn pulao. Penne prawns. Deep-fried prawns. Prawn jalfrezi. Prawn korma. Sweet-and-sour prawns. Butterfly prawns. Prawn fried rice. Prawn-stuffed paratha. Prawn cutlets. Prawn salad.
‘Okay, Nadir Sheh, we get it!’ Alys said as she and Sherry joined the buffet line. ‘You can afford all the prawns in the ocean. And I’d thought the flowers ostentatious.’
‘I love prawns,’ Sherry said, taking heaping spoonfuls of each entrée. ‘I’ve only ever eaten them once, and even then we only got four each. This is why you marry rich: an endless array of prawns whenever you want and prepared however you want.’
Soniah Kamal, Unmarriageable: Pride and Prejudice in Pakistan (London: Allison & Busby, 2019), p. 166.

Thursday 13 June 2024

Good and Better

Et hoc oro, ut caritas vestra magis ac magis abundet in scientia et in omni sensu [Phil 1,9]. Caritas abundat, idest crescit in scientiam, ut probare et discernere sciat homo non solum mala et bona, sed etiam inter bona et potiora.

“And this I pray, that your charity may more and more abound in knowledge, and in all understanding” (Philippians 1,9). Charity abounds, that is it grows into knowledge, so that a man may know how to examine and discern not only between good and evil, but also between good and better.
St. Anthony of Padua, Sermones Dominicales et in Solemnitatibus , ed. by Antonius Maria Locatelli et al ., 3 vols (Padua : Sodalitas Universalis Sancti Antonii Patavini Edit ., 1895 ), II, p. 553. From his Sermon on the Twenty-Second Sunday After Pencecost (III.17). My translation.

Marcantonio Bassetti - St Antony Reading
Marcantonio Bassetti - St Antony Reading